It looks like Google may soon be breaking down barriers between its two operating systems, giving Chrome OS users access to Android apps from the Google Play Store. As spotted by a Reddit user this weekend, Chromebooks running version 51 of Chrome OS are showing a checkbox in their settings menu that reads "Enable Android apps to run on your Chromebook." The option disappears quickly, but the Chrome OS source code appears to indicate that Chromebook users will soon get access to the "more than a million" games and apps on the Google Play Store.
The specific version of Chrome OS in which this feature appears is only available in the Developer Channel at the moment, and those who have been able to enable it say that it only shows a tutorial before automatically closing, but it seems that the feature is in the works as Google gears up for its I/O conference next month.
The option appears and disappears quickly in the settings menu
Google first started making Android apps — including Vine, Evernote, and Duolingo — available on Chrome OS back in 2014, as part of a limited trial that was expanded in April the next year with the wider launch of the ARC (App Runtime for Chrome) Welder app. An "ARC opt in" option is mentioned in the Chrome OS source code in question, as Ars Technica details, indicating that the module could be expanded to support the million-plus apps found in the Google Play Store on Chromebooks.
Despite protestations in the past that the two OS would be kept separate, this change would be good news for Chrome OS users, who may soon get access to a bigger and better store than the one they're used to: Google Play has more software, accepts payment in more countries, and has had better support than its Chrome OS cousin over the past few years.